As the sun rose this morning, the Oreos set. Mostly on the median, on I-80 near Morris, Illinois, southwest of Chicago. A tractor-trailer overturned at 4AM spilling 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreo cookies. Traffic was closed in both directions. A videotape from a news helicopter from Breitbart TV is available here.
The mishap—the driver fell asleep at the wheel—stirs something in many of us that 14 tons of, say, carrots or Brussels sprouts, would not. As with any great tragedy, the humorists went to work to deflect our grief. “Got Milk?” says the lead to the Breitbart story. “Truck Tosses Cookies” says another headline.
We at NAS would like to strike a more sober tone. For us, the double-stuffed Oreo cookie speaks to a deep cultural craving among Americans. We want that richer, fuller content, but only in the form of cookies. This is the same impulse that, in the world of higher education, prompts students to pursue “double majors” sandwiched into curricula that offer wafer-thin requirements for core knowledge, or that grant academic credit for “service learning” and internships. American higher education is increasingly a matter of bribing students into contentment with cookie-like offerings.
We say “eat your vegetables”—and crunch some bones. The Great Cookie Massacre of 2008, on the heels of many college commencements over the weekend, is a sign of cosmic disapproval with the adults who should know better. Great Orion reached down and overturned that truck, leaving faithful Canis Major to scarf up the Oreos.